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This is not a "hipster chick with ukulele" YouTube post
May 26, 2011 5:02 PM   Subscribe

What do you do if you're the lead singer of one of the biggest rock bands in the world releasing your second solo album? If you're Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, you record 16 songs, originals and covers, spanning a short 35 minutes... accompanying yourself with your ukulele. The entire album, Ukulele Songs, is available for a free First Listen now, thanks to NPR.

Bonus: Eddie Vedder: Longing To Belong (video)

More Bonus: Eddie and his ukulele with Pearl Jam -- Soon Forget

More More bonus: original Pearl Jam track for Can't Keep
posted by hippybear (48 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Damn ukulele hipsters.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:09 PM on May 26, 2011


Wow, NPR sure loves them ukeleles.
posted by dunkadunc at 5:09 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


In case you're wondering, it sounds pretty much like Eddie Vedder playing the ukulele.
posted by unSane at 5:10 PM on May 26, 2011 [12 favorites]


Thanks Ed!
posted by brando_calrissian at 5:10 PM on May 26, 2011


He's no Brudda Iz.
posted by jonmc at 5:11 PM on May 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


He's all like: You gonna rock my flannels? I'll rock your ukelele.
posted by defenestration at 5:17 PM on May 26, 2011


This is not a "hipster chick with ukulele" YouTube post

Sure it is. Have you seen Vedder recently?
posted by clvrmnky at 5:19 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also available for streaming via the NPR Music app for iPhone, for you iOSers. Let's do this, Ed.
posted by Mikey-San at 5:21 PM on May 26, 2011


Have you seen Vedder recently?

Actually, I saw him on the second night of the 2-night stand by Pearl Jam right as Backspacer was released. So... "lately" is a bit of a loaded term, but I've certainly seen him within the past 6-8 months.

Are you suggesting that hipster chicks all look like mid-40-year-old men with beards? I'm not even sure who you're insulting with that comment, but I'm certain it's someone and I'm positive it isn't Eddie because I actually have seen him pretty recently.
posted by hippybear at 5:22 PM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I like Eddie Vedder and ukeleles, so I approve of this message.
posted by and miles to go before I sleep at 5:53 PM on May 26, 2011


I tend to like Ukuleles, so I'll check it out, but as for Vedder... well, anything aside from Pearl Jam's Ten is painful bad. Hopefully this'll be the turn for the better that he needs.
posted by blaneyphoto at 5:57 PM on May 26, 2011


I apologize to the PJ-kids, but I gotta say, with the exception of Elderly Woman..., I rue the day Stone and the guys stopped saying "Eddie, the mic is over there. That's your instrument, k?"

I hear this, and I hear a guy who wrote some Freshman-in-college-in-the-summer-after-he-learned-by-tab caliber, said "man, there's a certain degree of expectation here, seeing as I'm a part of popular music history," and he knew well enough not to try to quirk it up with a mandolin since that's so 1995.

I'm not going to go so far as call it "poor", but I wouldn't pay a dime for it.

Just my opinion. Sorry to shit on Eddie.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 6:04 PM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


We're listening to this right now. I've been feeling very "over" guitar-based rock (synths and cellos are what are doing it for me this month), and I'm generally way over guy-with-guitar singer-songwriter stuff, so I'm pleasantly surprised at how much I'm enjoying this record.
posted by immlass at 6:06 PM on May 26, 2011


A few years ago my wife went to a fish market to get us ingredients for dinner. They told her that representatives from Pearl Jam - who were performing in town - had called them to ask if they had any sea bass. The market had mistakenly told them: No. So now, thanks to the goof, they could sell the sea bass to her.

This is what she explained to me when I got home. As she and I are both big Seinfeld fans, I wondered aloud if this was a case of "Jon Voight's car". But we were both hungry - so we didn't concern ourselves with it for too long.

And it turned out to be as succulent a piece of fish as I've ever had. Melt-in-your-mouth stuff. "Better luck next time, Eddie!" I crowed with satisfaction - addressing Mr. Vedder in my imagination. "Maybe you can write a song about it!"

But in my piscatorial triumph, I failed to notice one of my dogs inching up to the coffee table to steal a lick of the buttery platter. "No!" I cried in a panic. "Not the Pearl Jam fish!"

True story.
posted by Trurl at 6:09 PM on May 26, 2011 [18 favorites]


My world really changed in a bad way when Pearl Jam started contemplating its collective navel around about 1994.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:15 PM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Rats, I was really hoping for Eddie van Halen on the ukulele.
posted by bwg at 6:17 PM on May 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


Cool Papa Bell: "My world really changed in a bad way when Pearl Jam started contemplating its collective navel around about 1994."

By the time I became aware of them they were wailing that stupid "Oh Where Oh Where Can My Baby Be" song. God damn, grunge got stabbed in the back. Hard.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:37 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Eddie Vedder ... ukulele ... WAVES ... Hawai'i ... >> S I G H << ... and, apologies to bitter old men ... Eddie's voice still makes my toes curl. ;-)
posted by Surfurrus at 7:50 PM on May 26, 2011


By the time I became aware of them they were wailing that stupid "Oh Where Oh Where Can My Baby Be" song.

That song is actually called "Last Kiss". It's worth knowing the names of these things, otherwise you end up being that asshole who is asking the DJ to play that "Fuck You Like An Animal" song by Marilyn Manson.

Anyway, if you want a really really good late Pearl Jam album, I suggest you check out Riot Act. They pretty much left "grunge" (whatever that even meant in the first place) behind after their Vitalogy album, and have been doing really excellent rock music for decades. Riot act is a pretty excellent complete statement from the band, not nearly as esoteric and deliberately alienating as, say, Binaural was. (And don't get me wrong -- I love Binaural. But that was pretty much at the peak of their "we don't want to be popular, let's write songs nobody can tap their foot to" phase.)

Their last two, Pearl Jam and Backspacer, have both been less "album-y" to my ear, which isn't really a good thing. But I'm old school rocker and like the long-form statement of an album. Riot Act fills that nicely, IMO.
posted by hippybear at 7:54 PM on May 26, 2011


and have been doing really excellent rock music for decades

yeah. no.
posted by unSane at 7:56 PM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


*shrug* De gustibus non disputandum est.
posted by hippybear at 8:00 PM on May 26, 2011


wow so much PJ/eddie hate.

Been a fan since 91 and have seen them about 15 times. Listened to this this afternoon. It was pretty good (LOVED LOVED the In The Wild Soundtrack he did much more) but I have a feeling it will grow on me.
posted by ShawnString at 8:12 PM on May 26, 2011


2005 Pearl Jam concert in Ottawa. Best damn concert I've ever been to. EV sang for three frickin hours. Holy crap. I bought the recording and it's amazing just how good the live performance is.

The thing is, PJ is coming to town once again and i'm wondering whether to go, because it's going to be hard to beat the last time.
posted by storybored at 8:17 PM on May 26, 2011


I saw one of Vedder's solo shows in Melbourne in March. When he pulled out his ukulele, he went into the opening of Lukin, but stopped before the verse.

Now I really, really, really want to hear him play Lukin on his ukulele.

PS, we get it, our favourite band sucks and you're, like, way cooler than us.
posted by robcorr at 8:24 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


The thing is, PJ is coming to town once again and i'm wondering whether to go, because it's going to be hard to beat the last time.

Every time you see PJ is the best time you've seen PJ. And each show doesn't supplant the previous. They are each singular experiences, entirely the best each unto itself.

Go see them. You'll be happy you did. I've never walked out of a PJ show disappointed.

Now I really, really, really want to hear him play Lukin on his ukulele.

It's not Ed and his ukulele, but there's always the acoustic performance of Lukin from Benaroya Hall, which is pretty excellent.
posted by hippybear at 8:32 PM on May 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


and have been doing really excellent rock music for decades.

Seeing as how they've been around since 1990, you're saying they've been making excellent rock music since essentially day 1. And that is so, so not true. ;-)

Said it before, say it again: Pearl Jam didn't just "go downhill," but fell off the table since they fired Dave Abbruzzese. He wanted to be a musician that made people happy. The other guys wanted something else.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:55 PM on May 26, 2011


Yeah Abbruzzese really rocked those skins, he was aces. And you're right that everything after Vitalogy has suffered badly for his loss. Flat, powerless, heartless soft rock, when it used to be spiky, energetic, forceful.
posted by tumid dahlia at 9:18 PM on May 26, 2011


Is that what you say about a drummer, that they "rock the skins"?
posted by tumid dahlia at 9:18 PM on May 26, 2011


Well, I won't argue that Abbruzzeze and the rest of the guys had different visions for the band. And you're welcome to think that their first 3 albums are their best, and there are many who would agree with you. But there are legions who have been along for the entire ride who really appreciated the turn PJ took starting with No Code.

It's interesting to go to a PJ show and run into the people who stopped listening with Vs. I mean, they bought Vitalogy, but they didn't really listen to it in any depth because it wasn't the friendly angst-filled album they felt they should get to continue what had gone before. So they spend most of the show waiting for one of the 4 or 5 songs they actually know, and generally are assholes for the entire rest of the show.

I had one guy at a show spend the ENTIRE concert shouting "Play Alive!!!" over and over, increasingly drunk as the evening went on, and he eventually vomited (not on me, thank goodness) and left with his girlfriend or wife pulling him out of the seats, very insistent and very embarrassed.

But Pearl Jam has become so much more than those first two albums across the years. Eddie stopped his anger-driven therapy lyrics, the band has become tight and very creative and very expansive in what they're willing to play and explore... Matt Cameron is exactly the drummer they've always needed (and was from the beginning)...

You're welcome to cling to the idea that PJ isn't who they should be because they aren't the band they started out as... But they've become who they are, and who they are is one of the few truly sustaining global rock acts in the world today. Lots of artists grow and change over time. When certain audience members aren't willing to make that change, then it's good that they're left behind. Otherwise, they just shout a lot and end up vomiting before the show is over.
posted by hippybear at 9:29 PM on May 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


I rue the day Stone and the guys stopped saying "Eddie, the mic is over there. That's your instrument, k?"

But, like, that's what this whole album is about! Eddie singing, with minimal accompaniment!
posted by inparticularity at 9:30 PM on May 26, 2011


Though their music is dissimilar and not comparable, Pearl Jam reminds me of the Meat Puppets: mediocre and not very interesting records (Meat Puppets II excepted), but live? Amazing.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:31 PM on May 26, 2011


1991: Drove up to DC with some friends to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers at American University. None of us had heard of either of the opening bands, so we weren't in a hurry. Missed the first one (Smashing Pumpkins) and got there halfway through the second one (Pearl Jam).

True story.
posted by gottabefunky at 10:43 PM on May 26, 2011


What do you do if you're the lead singer of one of the biggest rock bands in the world releasing your second solo album?

Wonder what it's like to be Eddie Vedder?
posted by dubold at 3:12 AM on May 27, 2011


But there are legions who have been along for the entire ride who really appreciated the turn PJ took starting with No Code.

Hippybear? I think I love you. ;)
No Code is my absolutely favorite album of all time.

There I said it.
posted by ShawnString at 5:10 AM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


ShawnString: I find much to love in all their albums, but the Tone Poem that is No Code utterly kills me every time I listen to it. It's one of those rides which, once I start, I have to take to the very end. It's really the philosophical and sonic fulcrum of PJ, that point where everything, from the lyrics to the sounds to the entire musical approach, all changed. IMO for the better, as it broadened and deepened at the same time.

Yeah, No Code. Great album, widely overlooked, well worth another listen. Maybe even right now.
posted by hippybear at 5:49 AM on May 27, 2011


Its funny, after I posted that, I had to head to work. and the album on my ride in? No Code.

In My Tree...perfection.
posted by ShawnString at 6:00 AM on May 27, 2011


Eddie is hitting the road this summer to support this record, with Glen Hansard opening.
posted by shannonm at 7:36 AM on May 27, 2011


Is that what you say about a drummer, that they "rock the skins"?

Not with a straight face.

posted by unSane at 12:47 PM on May 27, 2011


I've never really given Pearl Jam much thought. I don't own any of their records but I also don't think their music is all that bad. What caught my eye was the word "ukulele". Damn fine instrument! No less a musician than George Harrison thought the uke was WAY under appreciated. Not knowing squat about Mr. Vedder, I gave the record a listen and thought he did a very nice job. He mentions that the vinyl version will come with a book including charts for the uke. I may have to pick that up.
posted by TDavis at 1:40 PM on May 27, 2011


Every time you see The Dead is the best time you've seen The Dead. And each show doesn't supplant the previous. They are each singular experiences, entirely the best each unto itself.

Eponhysterical
posted by mr.marx at 5:06 PM on May 27, 2011


Every time you see The Dead is the best time you've seen The Dead. And each show doesn't supplant the previous. They are each singular experiences, entirely the best each unto itself.

Eponhysterical


Well, it WOULD be that, except for I have never seen the Dead, have never really wanted to see the Dead, and was writing about Pearl Jam.

So yeah, hurf durf he's a hippie. I own that, but don't make assumptions based on your stereotypes.
posted by hippybear at 8:00 AM on May 28, 2011


Not with a straight face.

I thought you could say pretty much anything about drummers?
posted by tumid dahlia at 7:50 PM on May 28, 2011


All the drummers I've ever played with have been more or less anally retentive neat freaks, including the current one. The exact opposite of the stereotype in that respect, although generally completely incapable of listening to the rest of the band or knowing where we are in the song if we miss a bar or a section or something. Guitarists on the other hand, yeah, the stereotypes apply.
posted by unSane at 7:55 PM on May 28, 2011


Why are we typing so quietly?
posted by tumid dahlia at 11:20 PM on May 28, 2011


it could get even quieter...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:33 AM on May 29, 2011


It's not really that quiet, it's just that once the drummers stop, everything sounds a bit muffled
posted by hippybear at 5:11 AM on May 29, 2011


when drums stop, very bad
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:16 AM on May 29, 2011


I love that the NPR piece talks about Pearl Jam as a "noisy" band. I haven't listened to their latest albums with any degree of attention, but I felt like they got real navel-gazey, Neil-Young-y after the first couple albums. Noisy is definitely not the word I would have used to describe them.

Having said that - Eddie Vedder with a ukelele? Yes please!
posted by antifuse at 1:07 PM on June 1, 2011


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